Jamaica News: Managing Director of the HEART Trust/NTA, Dr. Janet Dyer, says the draft of the amended HEART Trust Act has been completed and is almost ready to go before the Legislative Committee of the Cabinet.
She was speaking with JIS News on June 25 at the HEART Trust’s corporate offices on Oxford Road, Kingston, at a cheque presentation ceremony for $6 million donated by the Phillip & Christina Gore Family Foundation for the HOPE programme.
The amended Act is one of several measures being taken as part of the four-way merger to create a super training agency through the full integration of the National Youth Service (NYS), Jamaican Foundation for Lifelong Learning (JFLL), and the Apprenticeship Board with the HEART Trust/NTA.
Giving an update on the progress of the merger, Dr. Dyer said: “We are operationally merged, and we are looking at the legal component of the merger now.”
Other actions include repealing the NYS Act and incorporating the services of the JFLL into the new entity.
The Managing Director further noted that work is under way to develop the new structure, and that the HEART Trust has hired consultants from PricewaterhouseCoopers Jamaica to plan and implement an organisational development review that is meant to identify and shore up areas of weakness while also eliminating duplications.
“Once that is done and we have the requisite approval, then we will start moving persons into the positions under the new structure. We are hoping we can tie this up as quickly as possible,” she said.
Dr. Dyer said the newly merged entity will seek to penetrate sections of the island where there are limited training opportunities.
“We recognise that there are areas within the country that we have not been able to make as much of an impact as we would want. These are areas where we do not have brick and mortar institutions. We are now looking creatively at how we can take the training and empowerment to our young persons within these communities, instead of asking them to come to our brick and mortar institutions,” she explained.
The agency’s broad mandate includes stemming the flow of students leaving the secondary school system without moving into further training; reducing the number of youth who are not educated, employed or trained; decreasing the unemployment rate for persons with disabilities; and increasing national literacy and numeracy rates.
HEART Trust now has an increased focus on specialisations, including training programmes targeted at high-employment industries, such as business process outsourcing (BPO), tourism and hospitality, logistics and animation, as well as construction and agriculture.
The new HEART Trust/NTA has been placed under the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM).
Source: JIS News